A THIRTEEN year old schoolgirl from Pyrford is working hard to make her neighbourhood bloom.

Allegra Cesar volunteers with the West Byfleet Community Gardening Group and what started out as a need to amass volunteering hours towards her Duke of Edinburgh Bronze award has now become a labour of love for Allegra on Saturday mornings.

A Year 9 pupil at St George’s College, Weybridge, Allegra particularly likes studying English and biology. She has been weeding, planting spring bulbs and plants, and sweeping up leaves at West Byfleet station, Birch Green and in the centre of the village.  She also tops up and tidies the community bookcase in the station booking hall.

“I didn’t know what to expect when I joined the group,” said Allegra, “but I found that I enjoy gardening and helping my community. The volunteers are friendly and made me feel part of the group. I feel I’m making a difference.  I look forward to gardening on Saturday mornings as it gets me out of the house, working in the fresh air and I’m learning new things. I don’t even mind if it’s raining!”

Recently the group has taken over tending the five big wooden containers in the centre of West Byfleet which Woking Borough Council used to maintain.

“After speaking to the council, we put out a call for plants and were overwhelmed with donations,” said the group’s Diane Cozens. “Allegra has helped us plant up these containers too, making the village look cared for again.”

Recently Allegra helped to weed the kerbs in her Pyrford street, much to the delight of her neighbours who came out to help.